Community clean-up to ‘make a difference’

Diane Heckels (front right) with members of the Dumbrills Residents Association
Diane Heckels (front right) with members of the Dumbrills Residents Association
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Dumbrills Close residents in Burgess Hill put on their gardening gear for a big clean-up.

They are doing three this year and have completed their second.

The residents tackled overgrown weeds and shrubs

The residents tackled overgrown weeds and shrubs

They came out in force to tackle overgrown weeds and shrubs in the close.

The residents, who are members of the Dumbrills Residents Association, say they volunteer to help with the big clean-up to ‘make a difference’.

Diane Heckels, 49, secretary and treasurer of the Dumbrills Residents Association and town councillor for the Leylands ward, has lived in Dumbrills Close for 19 years.

She has been part of the residents association for 15 years.

She said: “We have been doing this for the last four or five years. We used to have the odd clean-up but it has since gone from strength to strength.

“More people are wanting to join us and more people see us doing what we are doing and more people want to come out and help.

“I think they see that we want it to be a nice place to live. People do care about where they live and they see what a difference we make.

“It is just two hours of people’s time, three times a year, we are not asking for a lot of their time. They get rewarded afterwards too with a bacon or sausage sandwich and they get to socialise with their neighbours.

“It is a very sociable thing. We always get people who are not interested or think we are stupid for what we do but we take pride in where we live, we want it to rub off on other people too.

“On Saturday (June 3) we all worked as a team and cleaned up the kerbs around the close which were full of weeds and we trimmed back overgrown shrubs. We put the rubbish in bags and took it to the tip – we are helping the council!”

Councillor Heckels, who lives with her husband, John, 50, and their two sons, Jack, 18 and Myles, nine, said the association is always looking for new members.

She said: “We are always looking for more people to join us. We give a welcome letter to new people who move in to the close.

“There have been times where we thought we will have to give it all up but the last three years we have got bigger and better and we are getting a lot more support now.

“We all want to make it a nice place to live and want to welcome new families to be part of it. There are people who don’t want to be, and it is fine if they don’t, but we will welcome them if they do.

“It is not just members who get involved too, family members and children get involved. Children go around with litter pickers and this is a good activity for them – to stop them from dropping litter.

“We are also getting a lot of young families moving in and they are keen to get involved in the community atmosphere.

“All the children play together here. It is a real community hub. And I just feel that there is not much like this around anymore.

“We knock on each other’s doors here and we all know each other. It is really lovely.”

The group will take on their next cleanup in September or October.

They are now preparing for their annual summer barbecue which is being held on Saturday July 22.

All members of the residents association are welcome.

People who wish to join the association can email dianeheckels@gmail.com.

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